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Doling Out The Blame

Dole minister Mary Hanafin is trumpeting the results of social welfare fraud investigations.

In short, just over one in ten claims investigated were ‘suspended’ or ‘under continuing investigation.’

We are not told how many inquiries are continuing, and how many are completed. So much for presumed innocent.

The majority of dodgy claims were from foreigners, the department made sure to mention in it’s press release.

Immigrants were targeted by the gaugers as a high risk category, the department explained, ‘because of their mobility between countries’.

Now let’s take a look at the numbers.

Fraud investigation figures in press release from the Department of Social & Family Affairs

In only one area is the number of Irish fraud claims given. Five of 45 claimants, or 11% of claims, were suspect.

So the average Irish citizen on the dole is about as likely to make a dodgy claim as someone in the ‘high risk’ category.

Put baldly, there’s no evidence that immigrants are a high risk group.

Something doesn’t add up here.

Then there’s the nature of the inquisition. The department says it involved ‘house visits or mailshot’.

So if you didn’t reply to a letter from the dole, your payment was suspended?

How many people lost payments for failure to answer a bureaucrat’s letter promptly?